Justice has been served!
The EFL were given an appeal this week when Garry Monk and his team decided to appeal the scandalous red card given to Maikel Kieftenbeld on Tuesday night at Brentford.
The red card was given as the result of gamesmanship from Neal Maupay that was nothing short of disgraceful, a despicable act that unfortunately paid dividends as Kieftenbeld was shown red, the Dutchman having one of his typically industrious performances against one of the better sides in the league.
Thankfully, his actions didn’t cost us the game. But they did cost us the chance of victory. He later managed to get Harlee Dean and Michael Morrison in the book, the latter following his manager in letting his thoughts be known and receiving a card. Morrison got yellow, Monk received red after seeing red.
It’s a shame that the bad blood means that Monk will now serve a one-match touchline ban and therefore won’t be stood alongside Paul Warne in the St.Andrews dugouts.
Paul Warne is one of the more likeable managers in the Football League and his honest image has reflected onto a team that have righted the wrongs of their dismal relegation campaign a few seasons back.
Rotherham were previously one of the sides few people cared for, a small Championship outfit that relied heavily on a Dad’s army style squad that survived under the stewardship of Steve Evans then Neil Warnock – likeable they are not.
Paul Warne also brought a smile to the faces of Birmingham City fans this week with his tale of how rude he thought Birmingham City fans were, shouting “Who?” as he walked out onto the field having replaced Darren Byfield a few years back. Perhaps he remains unaware that we treat every football player the same way. In fact, Helen Chamberlain once praised us as the only club that ever managed to pull it off.
He has brought a youthfulness to Rotherham and his energetic side are led by some experienced heads in the form of Billy Jones and Richard Wood while the likes of Will Vaulks, Joe Mattock and Semi Ajayi have been consistent members of the starting XI this season.
This won’t be a pretty game. Both sides are reliant on energy, one-touch football not in the remit for sides that rely heavily on power in attack. Out wide, both sides have capable runners with the ball, Jon Taylor and Ryan Williams Rotherham’s version of Jota and Jacques Maghoma. At the back, both sides rely on defenders who defend first and foremost while the middle of midfield is about energy and tenacity.
Still, it could be an enjoyable one, one that is played in the right spirit. After the disgraceful scenes on Tuesday night, you can guarantee there are 22 players on the pitch willing to play the game the way it should be played. Determination, commitment and discipline.
Hopefully we can get win number 2 of the season.
Maikel Kieftenbeld is available after his straight red card against Brentford was rightly rescinded. It means Blues start with an unchanged team ahead of this clash although Connor Mahoney is pushing hard for his chance to impress.
Paul Warne will welcome back Bristol City youngster Zak Vyner to his squad after the youngster was unavailable against his parent club in midweek. Richie Towell and Kyle Vassell could return, the latter potentially providing a rest bite for Michael Smith who has been playing with a groin problem.
Richard Wood is a doubt while Sean Raggett, Jamie Proctor, Clark Robertson and Darren Potter are all injured.
Birmingham City: 18th
Overall: Played 11; Won 1, Drawn 8, Lost 2; For 10, Against 11, GD –1; Points 11
Home: Played 5; Won 0, Drawn 5, Lost 0; For 5, Against 5, GD 0; Points 5
Most starts: Colin, Morrison, Dean, Pedersen, Jota, Maghoma, Jutkiewicz – 11
Most goals: Che Adams & Lukas Jutkiewicz – 3
Worst discipline: Maikel Kieftenbeld – 3 yellow cards & 1 red card
Rotherham United: 19th
Overall: Played 11; Won 3, Drawn 2, Lost 6; For 8, Against 16, GD -8; Points 11
Home: Played 5; Won 0, Drawn 0, Lost 5; For 1, Against 11, GD -10; Points 0
Most starts: Joe Mattock, Marek Rodak, Semi Ajayi & Will Vaulks – 11
Most goals: Ryan Manning – 2
Worst discipline: Richard Wood – 4 yellow cards
Last five played:
Blues 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
Sheffield United 0-0 Blues
Leeds United 1-2 Blues
Blues 2-2 Ipswich Town
Brentford 1-1 Blues
Rotherham United 1-0 Derby County
Aston Villa 2-0 Rotherham United
Nottingham Forest 1-0 Rotherham United
Rotherham United 2-2 Stoke City
Rotherham United 0-0 Bristol City
When we last met:
Rotherham United 1-1 Birmingham City
The start of a critical Easter weekend went horribly wrong for Blues whose went all through sorts of emotions during a game where three points were a necessity. This was Gianfranco Zola’s Blues and there was a strange atmosphere in the away end, a nervousness that spread as a result of regularly bad results under the Italian. Kerim Frei’s free-kick appeared to put an end to all that, a spectacular effort that left Blues fans running onto the pitch to celebrate a wonderful effort. However, Danny Ward’s late finish secured a point for the hosts as in-fighting began in the crowd amidst fans whose loyalties were finally being tested.
Opposition Player to Watch: Ryan Manning
As a Football Manager geek, I always thought of Ryan Manning as intelligent, attacking midfielder. It turns out he’s a bit more than that and the feisty on-loan QPR midfielder will be looking to add to his two goals and one assist. He also takes plenty of set-pieces, a strong route to goal for an excitable Rotherham side.
Birmingham City 2-1 Rotherham United